|By Phillip R Smith|
|May 2, 2012|
Walter Schreiner [1937-2012]
Very saddened of course to hear the news of Walter's untimely death. My first recollection of this man was at the time the Hillsdale/Montvale Chess Club existed at the Smith School in Hillsdale. I participated in the club championship as there were 2 sections of that tournament. I won my section and Walter won his, and we then had to play a best 3 out of 5 match, and I took the championship by defeating Walter in 3 straight games to become at that time the youngest player to win that club's championship. Walter was really a good sport, and I really looked up to him as an influential adult role model back in the 1970's and was not at all mad about losing 3 straight games to me. I think at that time, I was 16 years old, and Walter really helped me with the development of my game and always impressed upon me about getting to know other chess players strengths and weaknesses. Walter was also very influential about traveling to different competitions along the East Coast as I can remember Walter Schreiner and the late Bill Havens impressing on us kids, including Danny Adler, Chuck Adelman, and Paul Truong to travel with them as they were both responsible adults to support our development as chess players and drive us to the competitions.
As we fast forward through the hands of time, Walter eventually relocated to the Phoenix, Arizona area, and Walter and I hooked up in Asheville, North Carolina to compete in the Land of the Sky tournaments in the winter. I was given the privilege of being asked to pick up Grandmaster, Sergey Kudrin at the airport in 1991, and Walter's flight arrived an hour earlier than Sergey's. I basically said that I have a surprise for you, but we have to wait an hour, and almost on cue Walter asked me what Grandmaster was I asked to pick up, and when I mentioned Sergey Kudrin, he said, "Okay, we will wait". Driving Sergey back to the airport after he won that tournament was an adventure as his airlines (Eastern Airlines) went out of business, and watching the news unfold on CNN, I immediately called up to Sergey's room and apologized for waking him up, and informed him that his airlines went out of business and instructed Sergey to call US Airways and he was able to get an alternate flight. I remember having to hustle Walter out and after we dropped off Sergey at the airport and he got out, Walter and I enjoyed hiking the trails of Pisgah National Park in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.
Given the fact that Walter moved on to Arizona and I was doing my relocation to St. Louis, Atlanta and Green Bay, Wisconsin, Walter and I kept in touch over the years and I even surprised him by attending the Southwest Open in Scottsdale, Arizona during Labor Day Weekend, 1999. When I saw Walter in the tournament room, I yelled, "Surprise, look who is here"! We then enjoyed a tasty dinner at Houston's Steak House in Phoenix and he was very happy for our friendship of many years.
During last year, I was saddened to learn of Walter's wife's death as they were supposed to go to France. Walter ended up going, and when I spoke with him just last week, Walter was going to take a trip to his native Germany in June to re-visit old family and friends. This trip won't happen, but during his 75 years on this Earth, Walter enjoyed life to the fullest and will forever be grateful for having crossed paths with this man.
Walter Schreiner, you were funny and eloquent, and enjoyed our times together.
David A. Cole